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David Bowie cover of the week: Marc Lowe’s “We’ll Creep Together/All the Madmen”

This was a somewhat odd week for Bowie covers as a lot were posted that…were not very good. I’m not going to single any out and I’m all for people doing their own thing and posting it online somewhere, but a lot of that made for a large number of covers to sort through for the good stuff (and I’m sure I missed some good stuff). That said, I did find some covers I liked very much.

My selection for “cover of the week” is an odd choice, but that it is atypical is part of the reason I chose it. Marc Lowe is the second person I ever interviewed for this blog, after selecting his version of “I Can’t Give Everything Away” as a cover of the week a while back. I recently recorded a video interview with him which will post in the future, during which we discussed Bowie’s 1. Outside and its never-officially-released antecedents known as The Leon Suites. Marc and I agree that of all the unreleased Bowie material out there, The Leon Suites are what we would most like to see in an official format. They are the nearest thing we know of of that would come out as a nearly-totally new Bowie album. “Nearly” because some of these pieces were adapted into the segues on 1. Outside, but the overlap is brief. Also, some of The Leon Suites are readily available on YouTube and elsewhere, and indeed, Marc samples one of the recordings in this video.

That brings me to the video itself— some of the music you’ll hear is from Bowie’s “We’ll Creep Together.” Marc does a kind of mashup with one of his own earlier covers of “All the Madmen.” The visual elements are completely new. Marc has a lot of material out there— Bowie covers, original music, video essays and more. HERE is a link to his webpage for more from Marc. Some of his material is challenging and some of it is accessible. I would put this one more in the direction of the challenging. If you’re looking for a breezy cover of “Let’s Dance” or a soulful version of “‘Heroes,’” this is not for you.

In addition to being pretty heavy, there’s also a spontaneous element to it, even though its source material is more developed. I get the feeling that Marc can do something more refined with this idea. But the roughness of the piece is part of what brought me back to it. I found myself listening a second time, after focusing on Marc’s vocals the first time. I didn’t have that reaction to some of the other covers I heard this week.

Plus, I give Marc bonus points for working “We’ll Creep Together” into a cover. I’ve never heard that obscure, obscure piece anywhere other than its YouTube bootleg (if “bootleg” is the right term). And, overall, I think this is creative. So, cover of the week!

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Here are some of the other covers I liked this week. All of them are more on the conventional side, if that’s what you’re looking for. Click on the bolded song titles to go to the corresponding YouTube video:

Loving the Alien” by Checkmaze. When fans say they don’t like the album, Tonight, I don’t know if they mean they don’t like this song. I like it, and think its commentary about religious warfare seems relevant today, so it’s a good time for a good cover. I appreciate that Checkmaze is not trying to sound like Bowie, and I also appreciate the visual elements of this video.

China Girl” by The Gift Band. I’m not quite sure what the occasion was for this project, but the result is a nicely documented performance of “China Girl.” I think this is a Croatian band.

Letter to Hermione” by Lycheelian. I like this simple performance and especially like that it’s a very rarely covered song. I probably would have selected this one as “cover of the week” but for Marc’s video.

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